While searching for information about the psychology behind YouTube, why it has become such a cultural phenomenon, and why we are drawn to this website full of endless videos about nearly any topic under the sun, I came across mainly links to the YouTube website itself. This could be due to the relative newness of the site and therefore little psychological analysis has been completed or just the large amount of videos regarding psychology on YouTube. The abundance of psychology videos includes topics ranging from general lectures to psychology of pop culture and even in-depth scientific explanations of psychological phenomenon. While some people can easily spend hours on YouTube at a time searching through an unlimited supply of funny videos, the average YouTube video gets only 20 hits in the first month. (Robertson) Because the creators of the site made it easy to upload any kind of videos you’d like, many users upload videos not for the purpose of obtaining “hits” on their video but to send home video updates of their children to relatives or to upload a class projects, where the only views are likely to be classmates and teachers. Only around 1% of videos get over 500,000 views. (Robertson) While YouTube has the capability of reaching information overload, in which users are overwhelmed by the enormity of data offered by the site, users seem to enjoy the amount of information available to them with just a push of a button. The site also serves as an instructive interface in which “how to” videos teach viewers skills ranging from makeup application to self-defense moves. Most videos employ strategies including: the “cute factor,” humor, evoking an emotional response, or music. (Cashmore) However, there is no tried and true formula for achieving YouTube success. Videos that are bizarre and offbeat often top the charts in popularity. The unpredictable nature of the website keeps viewers coming back for more and is a large factor in the site’s success.
Robertson, Mark R. “Average Number of Youtube Views In First Month.” ReelSEO
Video Marketing. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2012.
Cashmore, Pete. “YouTube: Why Do We Watch?” CNN. Cable News Network, 17 Dec.
2009. Web. 08 Nov. 2012.